James Cleveland – Fiddle

James Cleveland has been teaching at the Irish Arts Center since 1999.  He started playing the fiddle as an adult and learned much of his repertoire from classes at the Center.  He plays regularly in NYC sessions, is a member of the Irish Arts Center band and has played the fiddle in several stage plays.


Anna Colliton – Bodhrán

Anna Colliton is one of America's leading exponents of the bodhrán, the traditional Irish frame drum. From Chicago, a city of Irish musical excellence, Anna plays a highly intricate style of drumming with masterful tonal and rhythm variation. She has taught and performed at festivals across the country, including Milwaukee Irish Fest, Chicago Celtic Fest, the New York Irish Dance Festival, the O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat, and the Dollywood Festival of Nations. Anna appeared on Cherish the Ladies' recent album A Star in the East and Grainne Murphy's Short Stories.


Seagda Coyle – Button Accordion

Seagda Coyle started playing the button accordion at the age of 7 and considers musicians such as Joe Madden, Joe Burke and Bobby Gardiner as his earliest musical influences. Learning most of his music from the playing of John Nolan, Seagda has gone on to acquire a collection of gold medals from the Mid-Atlantic Fleadh and has competed in the All Ireland Fleadh multiple times.  Both a fan of the traditional as well as the contemporary, Seagda is a composer of tunes and can be found regularly at sessions throughout the New York area as well as teaching music at the Martin O’Grady School of Music and Arts in the Bronx.


Tom Downes – Bagpipes

Tom Downes has been involved with the Irish Arts Center since 1972. He was a performer in some of our earliest theatrical productions and has been teaching bagpipes here for about 15 years. Tom grew up in Brooklyn in the 1950s with parents from musical families in West Limerick. Learning music at the piano from age seven, his love of traditional Irish music led him to focus on the bagpipes under the tutelage of the County Tyrone Association band, eventually directing the band as Pipe Major. Tom has enjoyed a 35-year career as a bilingual guidance counselor in the NYC public schools and for years was an adjunct evening instructor in music at St.John's University. He has taught piping to other bands and organizations, also playing uillean pipes, tin whistle and low whistle. Several of his students have gone on to lead bands and to use Tom's original music and arrangements. Tom has made a lifelong effort to collect, research, and adapt traditional Irish music for the bagpipe. He still performs regularly and has been a part of recordings, TV shows and live concerts. Favorite projects include playing solo pipes for Seamus Heaney's reading of his own poems in a dramatic presentation directed by Derek Wolcott at the 92nd Street Y.


Siobhan Egan – Bodhrán

Born in Philadelphia, Pa, Siobhan moved to the west of Ireland at a young age.  While living in Foxford, Co. Mayo, she began traditional music lessons at age eight with Martin Donoghue.  Learning by ear, she started on the tin-whistle and then went on to the flute, piano accordion, bodhrán and fiddle.  When her family returned to the Philly area in 1980, Siobhan started performing at festivals and concerts up and down the east coast with her brother, Seamus, and sister, Rory.  A founding member of Cherish the Ladies, she toured worldwide with the band for almost thirteen years.  While with CTL, she recorded seven cd’s, many of which feature several of her own compositions.  Since leaving the band, Siobhan has enjoyed teaching the bodhrán at the Irish Arts Center for the past few years.


Paddy Glynn –Banjo

A native of Corofin, County Galway, Paddy has recently made the transition to NYC and is quickly finding his way on the Irish music scene. Hailing from an area rich in Irish music, Paddy was fortunate to learn his trade by playing with great musicians like Jonathan Harty, Lorraine Glynn, and the Scahill family, citing Enda Scahill and Gerry O’Conner as his greatest influences.

Raised in a musical household with several prolific musicians and singers, music was always near the fore of any conversation. His musical ear was first noticed by his uncle Bernie, a well-known singer from the Galway area. He further refined and developed his ear by playing for many years in Fleadh CeolsScor competitions and sessions throughout Ireland.

Looking to continue on the great work of Pio Ryan who originated the tenor banjo program at Irish Arts Center, Paddy will share his bluegrass and traditional styles with students at the Center to promote the Irish Tenor banjo and traditional Irish music in general.

Laurie Norman –Tin Whistle

Laurie first came to the Irish Arts Center in 1973 to study the Irish language and learn songs in Irish. In the 1970s and 80s, she was a lead singer in the Irish Arts Center’s acclaimed production of Siamsa, a history ofIreland through music, dance, song, and story. She also picked up the tin whistle along the way and played in the American premiere of Thomas Murphy’s Famine in 1982. Recently, Laurie has studied tin whistle with former Irish Arts Center teacher Bill Ochs and Irish harp with Gráinne Hambly and other well-known Irish and Scottish harpers.


Peadar Ó hÍcí – Guitar

Dublin’s Peadar Ó hÍcí  has been delivering the songs of Ireland’s history to audiences at home and abroad for over a decade. A regular fixture on the Dublin city folk and traditional music circuit, Peadar learned his trade on stage at The Arlington Hotel’s, Oliver St John Gogarty’s and The Temple Bar in Dublin’s Cultural Quarter.On a visit to The Catskills Irish Arts Week in 2010, Peadar decided to take his music to New York City. Since arriving in the United States, Peadar has been busy performing with many of the finest Irish musicians New York City including Ivan Gough, Matt Mancuso and Tipperary banjo player, Pio Ryan. Peadar’s songs and traditional guitar accompaniment have already landed him on stages in all of New York’s five boroughs and as far away as St Louis, Mizzouri. On St Patrick’s Day 2013, Peadar was invited to join All-Ireland winning accordion player Martin O’Connell in a performance at the New York Mayor’s residence – Gracie Mansion. Derek Warfield (founder of The Wolfe Tones) recruited Peadar into his band The Young Wolfe Tones in 2013. Peadar has played guitar, sang and written for the band ever since. 


Mia Theodoaratus – Celtic Harp

Mia Theodoaratus is a composer, improviser and harpist who plays Celtic, Rock and Jazz harp. She has enjoyed working with Roscoe Mitchell, Susan Allen, Charlie Hayden, Daniel Carter, Dee Pop, Baikida Caroll, Antony and the Johnsons and Leona Naess. Her goal is to take classical sensibility and infuse it with the dynamics of free jazz and the rhythm of rock.  Performance highlights include Chaos & Candy, National Shakespeare Company production of Oedipus with Avery Brooks, Jason Schmidt opening with Gelatin performance group at Deitch Projects, and Butch Morris's New York Skyscraper.

This year Mia is playing in Dueling Harps with Ann Magnuson, Alex Rami and Adam Dugas at the Red Cat Theatre in Los Angles. Her touring duo with Adam Dugas is Ravens and Roses which fuses together Irish tunes, rock songs and Purcell.


Caitlin Warbelow – Fiddle

Hailing from a family of bush pilots in Fairbanks, Alaska, Caitlin Warbelow is a fiddler/violinist currently residing in Brooklyn. Currently, Caitlin is the violinist/fiddler for Riverdance's new production, "Heartbeat of Home", as well as a substitute violinist for Sting's new musical on Broadway, "The Last Ship". She has toured and performed with Cherish the Ladies, Mick Moloney and the Green Fields of America, The Brock McGuire Band, Michael Londra and Celtic Fire, The Mickey Finns, and The Prodigals, among many others. Known as something of a musical chameleon, Caitlin performs, records, and teaches extensively in NYC and around the country in a variety of genres including Irish traditional and rock, country and bluegrass, Texas swing and contest fiddling, and on occasion returns to her roots as a classical violinist. Caitlin holds honors from the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts, the National Suzuki Conference, the New England Fiddle Championship, and the Fleadh Cheoil (All-Ireland Competition). Her 2012 CD "Manhattan Island Sessions" was nominated for an Independent Music Award. Caitlin received a masters degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University and double bachelors degrees from Boston University in Violin Performance and Anthropology.




Dan Hunt – Set Dance

Dan Hunt has been a member of the Irish Arts Center since 1986. A former naval officer and merchant seaman, Dan came to the Irish Arts because he was looking for a  club and a community where he could pursue his love of  Irish music and culture.  Smitten with Irish folk dancing, he attended dance classes  taught by well known New York-area teachers such as Josephine McNamara, Kevin Westley and Paul Keating.  Later he attended set dance workshops given in the US and Ireland by such legendary dance masters as Joe O’Donavan, Connie Ryan, Pat Murphy, Timmy McCarthy, Larry Lynch, and Padraic McEneneny. He started teaching Ceili Dances at the Irish Arts Center in 1988 and taught his first Country Set Dance class in the following year.  He has been involved with Irish dance and music (especially at the Irish Arts Center) ever since. 
Dan’s approach to teaching Irish folk dance is more than mere choreography.  In his class he insists that only when you’ve begun to move to the phrasing of the music and above all, learn the footwork and movements unique to each dance will you experience the true pleasure of the sets.

Betty Sheehan (TCRG)

Betty Sheehan (TCRG) has been dancing since she learned to walk. Early on, she showed an affinity for percussive dance, much to the chagrin of her mother, who long lamented her much-scuffed kitchen floor. Betty studied Irish Dancing with Marie Moore, TCRG/ADCRG, in New York, and competed at the local, regional, and national levels during her competitive career.  Betty is a registered teacher with An Coimisiun in Ireland since 2005, and she is director of the Aherne Sheehan School of Irish Dance which holds classes on the Upper East Side as well as in Sussex County, NJ.

Laura Neese

Laura Neeseis a contemporary dance artist from Staten Island, NY, where she developed a love for dance under the mentorship of Rosemary Cappozalo and studied Irish dance with Niall O’Leary.  She holds a BFA in Dance and BA in English Literature from SUNY Buffalo, with additional study at the University of Chichester, UK, and is certified in the Simonson Method.  Laura currently collaborates with the KitchenSink Collective and Staten Island Dance Jam.  She presents her own solo and interdisciplinary work and teaches dance and tutors academics throughout the Greater NYC area.




Muireann Ní Chuív

A native of the Connemara Gaeltacht in Ireland, Muireann has been involved in Irish language teaching for the past ten years. She is a graduate of the National University Ireland, Galway, having completed both a BA in Celtic Studies and a Higher Diploma in Translation Studies. She was also awarded an M.Phil. in Early Irish from Trinity College Dublin for her work on the medieval manuscript Togail Bruidne Da Derga.

As a lecturer with the Translation and Interpretation Unit of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge in NUI Galway from 2007-2009, she taught both undergraduate and postgraduate courses focused on Irish grammar, terminology and translation skills. During this time she served as a university representative of the national Irish language terminology committee, An Coiste Téarmaíochta, which is tasked with the development and standardization of terminology dictionaries and databases.

Aside from her experience teaching at university level Muireann has also worked since 2003 as a teacher, course director and national committee member with Spleodar, an Irish language organization dedicated to teaching Irish to primary and secondary school students. An accredited translator and editor, she currently works with various organizations and state agencies in Ireland including Foinse, the national Irish language newspaper.


Caoimhe Nic Giollarnáith                                                                                                                                            
After graduating from the National University of Ireland, Galway, with a first class honors degree in Irish, Caoimhe began working as an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University, where she taught an Irish Language and Culture course. She currently works as an instructor at Manhattan College as part of the Irish Language Program. Apart from her experience teaching at university level, Caoimhe also works as an Irish Studio Coach for Rosetta Stone and as a freelance translator and interpreter. In the past she has featured as a guest on Raidió na Life’s shows, ‘Fada is Fairsing’ and ‘Amharc as Nua Eabhrac’. Caoimhe recently worked on the Irish language documentary series, ‘GAA USA’, in conjunction with TG4 and Sónta Films. Dara Ó Cinnéide, former Captain of the Kerry Gaelic football team, interviewed Caoimhe regarding the status of hurling in New York in the 18th century.


Dónall Ó Héalaí

Dónall Ó Héalaí holds a 1st class honors Bachelor of Arts degree from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, in Irish Language and Media Studies. He has worked professionally as an actor in both stage and screen for the past 5 years. His credits includes Pursuit (2015), Traders (2015), Corp & Anam and Sínte. In 2008 he received The Dr. Henry Hutchinson Stewart Literary Prize for Irish awarded by the National University of Ireland.




Andrew Fox

Andrew Fox was born in Dublin and lives in New York City. He is a graduate of UCD and Trinity College, and a PhD candidate at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in the Dublin Review, the Stinging Fly, the Daily Beast, and the anthologies Dubliners 100 and All Over Ireland. His first book, a collection of short stories entitled Over Our Heads, will be published in 2015.

Yvonne Cassidy

Yvonne Cassidy was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland and she moved to New York in 2011. Yvonne is the author of three novels: “The Other Boy”, “What Might Have Been Me” and most recently “How Many Letters Are In Goodbye?”

In addition to writing fiction, Yvonne has written journalism and for television. Working with new writers to help them find and develop their writing voice is something Yvonne is passionate about and while based in Ireland, she developed a Creative Writing program for the training division of The Irish Times.
Yvonne is a member of New York Writers’ Workshop and has taught at the New York Public Library as well as the Andrew Glover Youth Program and Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen where she has helped young offenders, homeless and other marginalized writers to find an outlet for their experience through creative writing.

Yvonne has taken part in many writing festivals and events in Ireland and the US. For latest information on readings and book events visit: or follow her on Twitter @YvonneCassidyNY

She is currently working on her fourth novel.



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